Brawn GP CEO Nick Fry has admitted that the F1 entry list confirmed in the wake of Wednesday's conflict resolution between FIA president Max Mosley and teams' group FOTA may not be the same as that which lines up in the 2010 season opener.
Referring to the abolition of the £40m budget cap that Mosley had tried to impose on the teams currently competing in the top flight, Fry conceded that the higher figures now likely to be competitive could rule out the participation of all or some of the three teams welcomed into the fold three weeks ago. All three were among the 15 bids fielded by Mosley in the wake of confirmation that the budget cap would remain in force, but Wednesday's accord altered the playing field significantly, with FOTA only agreeing to bring spending down to 'early 1990's levels within two years'.
While US F1, Campos Grand Prix and Manor F1 all appeared on the entries issued on 12 June and, again, on Wednesday, Fry questioned whether all three would decide to continue with their bid should more money be required to be competitive, and admitted that it was not beyond the bounds of possibility that one of the 'rejected' candidates could be included instead.
Former employer Prodrive, along with Lola, N.Technology, Epsilon Euskadi, Superfund and F1 'throwbacks' March, Brabham Grand Prix/Formtech and Lotus/Litespeed GP all missed out in the original selection process, but were asked to remain in talks with the FIA should FOTA proceed with its breakaway. Since then, both Lola and N-Technology have announced that they were withdrawing their candidature, but the others remain potential replacements should they be required.
"Obviously, we want more teams involved in F1," Fry told Reuters
after Thursday's FOTA meeting in Bologna, "[and], if one of those [original] three weren't able to get the funding to enter, there is a possibility that others might be invited in."
Manor, the most unexpected inclusion on the 2010 entry, is thought most likely to be affected by the raise in budgets, but has yet to confirm whether it was reviewing its plans. All three newcomers, however, are also expected to be affected by the condition of the FIA/FOTA deal which stipulates that 'there will be only one set of rules for everyone'.
Under Mosley's vision of the future, anyone running with Cosworth power - basically, the three additions - would have been able to run at out-dated rev levels approaching 20,000rpm, ostensibly because the engine builder had been out of the sport for several years. The peace accord now appears to end this proviso and it remains to be seen whether the teams continue, either with Cosworth or F1 as a whole, as a result. The alternatives, on offer from existing manufacturers, come at €5m per engine deal and €1.5m for a gearbox supply.
Fry, meanwhile, confirmed that he expected ostracised FOTA members Williams and Force India to be re-admitted to the group - provided they ask for the privilege.